“When Missionary Childhood Day was established on 4 December 1950 by Pope Pius XII, all countries were asked to identify a date to be dedicated to Holy Childhood, but freedom was left. Many celebrate it on 6 January precisely because it is the Epiphany, the manifestation of Jesus to the three Wise Men and a day of feast for children. But in other countries it is celebrated in February or May or July or October, it also depends on the school calendar and different contexts”: this is how Sister Roberta Tremarelli, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of Holy Childhood, explains the meaning and historical genesis of Missionary Childhood Day to Agenzia Fides, which is celebrated on 6 January. “It is an occasion dedicated to all the children who, like adults, are missionaries, by virtue of Baptism”, remarks Sister Tremarelli. “This also recalls the theme of the next Extraordinary Missionary Month: Baptized and sent, the Church of Christ on a mission in the world. All the children are called to live and walk on the example of the three Wise Men who, after discovering the incarnate Son of God, began to walk again; as well as the shepherds who announced it to everyone. It is from the encounter with Jesus that we become missionaries and this is understood by the children, they carry it out and live it very well”, observes the nun.
The Secretary-General notes: “The purpose of this celebration is also to remind children that there are other children in the rest of the world: some are Christians, others do not know Jesus and others are in difficulty from a human, educational and health point of view.
To have a Day dedicated to Holy Childhood Society, even if the dates are different in the world, means that, on that occasion, all the children on the continent are put in relation, in communication with each other. Jesus is the center and at the same time represents a bond for the children in the whole world”.